By: Laura D. (NYC) CITC Contributor
Ring, ring, ring
Ring, ring, ring
“Hello?” I answered.
“Dude!" Chloe said to me. "Thank God you’re there! Can you do me a favor? I’m so busy I can’t even get up to heat my lunch. Can you heat it up for me and bring it to my cube?”
“Sure, what does it look like?” I asked.
“It’s on the second shelf in a white bag. It’s a small Chinese food container and has rice and chicken in it. Thank you so much!”
“No problem, I’ll be right there….”
Or so I thought! This is how my lunch hour started, pretty normal conversation for a day in the office because no one takes lunch anymore, at least not outside of the office. Who can? The workload is so ridiculous and demanding that you’re lucky to get out with your retinas still attached! Ahhh, the life of corporate America…heating up my friends lunch is the least I can do. We have to watch out for one another on this low totem poll because trust me, not many people are. You’re a number kid, a big fat replaceable number. Eeek!
Lunch is the highlight of the day Monday through Friday. It’s all we have to look forward to, that and 5 o’clock. So when lunchtime comes, if you can manage to run out the door for 20 minutes, you take it, but when you can’t, you beg friends for favors like heating up your lunch and on this particular day, lunch got real interesting!
After taking mental notes on the description of Chloe's lunch, I head to the kitchen in search of her white bag. Second shelf was it? Chicken, she said? Found it! I open up the container just to make sure it’s hers. Rice? Check. Chicken? Check. Spaghetti? Hmmm, well she didn’t mention spaghetti, but maybe she forgot she put it in there this morning. I press 3 minutes on the microwave and watch her food heat up. Done! Grab a cup of water and then back into the cubicle maze to drop off Chloe's lunch, where she was diligently typing away…
“What’s that?” Chloe questioned.
“No it’s not.”
“Yes it is.”
“No. It’s not.”
“Yes. It is!”
“Dude, I swear that’s not my lunch,” she replies forcefully.
“Second shelf white bag??”
“Yea, but I didn’t have spaghetti.”
“Crap!! I just heated up someone else’s lunch!”
“Shit! Now what?” she said, looking alarmed.
“I don’t know but it’s your problem now!”
There is no way I wanted to be on the other side of that conversation, detailing to some unsuspecting soul that I touched their lunch and tried to fend it off to my friend as her own. No sir-re-bob! Needless to say, Chloe was not so happy. She didn’t want to be the one to deliver the news either. But hey, better her than me. There is enough office drama to last a life time around this place and this food situation will only make matters worse. We’re talking a solid 2 months of being the topic of kitchen etiquette gossip. Nope. Not happening.
So we debate. Send an email? Walk around the office asking, “Is this your lunch?” We contemplate for a good 15 minutes and decide that it’s not worth the embarrassment. “Are you dumb? You don’t know your own lunch??” they might say. Instead, we put the steamy hot dish back in the fridge and pray its owner will go for it when it cools down. I mean, this is just not something we can risk our office status on! It’s bad enough we violated the sacred trust that is the office refrigerator, but to be publicly mocked? Oh no. Lunch is the highlight of the day and it will not be tainted by this unfortunate mishap.
Keeping quiet is our only option but should the office floor get an irate email, we’ll laugh along and make fun with the rest of the crew because really, who heats up the wrong lunch?? Not me. At least, they can’t prove it anyway!